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The Inchoroi and the Sranc posted 22 February 2004 in Author Q & AThe Inchoroi and the Sranc by Priest, Candidate

What do we really know of these peoples? Can someone please give a bit of a summary of what we have learned sofar? How powerful are they, and what powers do they have? What appear to be their aims? How many are still left? About the Inchoroi in particular I'm wondering what they look like (it's been almost a year since I read the book and can't recall of there was a description). view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q & ADunyain by LooseCannon, Peralogue

Been reading through TDTCB and a question came to mind near the beginning. It is stated that when Kellhus left Ishual all the remaining Dunyain commited suicide to cleanse themselves of being polluted or some such by Moenghus' sorcery. Does this mean that Kellhus is the only remaining Dunyain in all of Earwa?

I guess this might be bordering very close to spoilers so I guess if this topic is covered in later books just ignore this. view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q & ADunyain by Skyfell, Commoner

Well, not quite. The statement was that all the remaining Dunyain *who had been contacted by Moenghus* killed themselves. The point was that everything outside their walls was viewed as flawed, and thus nothing and no one could be allowed in, even if it means the death of one or many Dunyain.

I'm interested in reading more about the the Dunyain's path from 'refugees with an ideology' to 'fanatic isolationists.' They didn't kill the original Anasurimbor, and they seemed expect to be recognized as harmless ("We are Dunyain, child. What reason could you have to fear us?") so at some point they shifted to their 'modern' willingness to kill or die for purity. Maybe I'm reading too much into a few lines (Mr. Author? Cue. <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> ) but if I'm not, then whatever the sociological fulcrum point was should be seriously interesting.

Jonathan view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ADunyain by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Hi Skyfell. In the original versions of TDTCB, the story started with three or four Dunyain sections, so I actually tend to lose track of what I did or didn't include in this final version! There's very much that I allude to that never appears in the book - I'm morbidly obsessed with subtexts.

I see the radical hygiene of the 'present' Dunyain not as the result of any single event, but rather many small insights and decisions over the course of many years. No matter how clean one is, one can always be cleaner, even if the soil at issue is history, custom, and animal passion. view post


The Inchoroi and the Sranc posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AThe Inchoroi and the Sranc by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

So far, precious little. This changes in a big way in TWP, however.

Lotsa juicy little revelations (he says, cackling and rubbing his hands in glee)... view post


The Inchoroi and the Sranc posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AThe Inchoroi and the Sranc by Mithfânion, Didact

I saw in the appendices that the Nonmen weren't able to communicate with their enemies until the Inchoroi "birthed mouths". I find that highly intriguing.

Also interesting to note that the Nonmen in their own capital speak a different language from those in other parts of Earwa, that is unless I misunderstand the appendices at that point. Kind of reminds me of Minas Tirith, capital of Gondor, were Quenya (High Elven) was still spoken whereas it had vanished almost everywhere else, certainly among mortals.[/i] view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ADunyain by Mithfânion, Didact

But there are still some Dunyians left,right? view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ADunyain by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Plenty <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


Dunyain posted 23 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; ADunyain by Mithfânion, Didact

Had I mentioned yet that I want TWP NOW? <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 23 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

But I mean, what do YOU think? view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 24 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Like I said, I'm an agnostic. <!-- s8) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cool.gif" alt="8)" title="Cool" /><!-- s8) --> view post


Domain Hosting posted 25 February 2004 in General AnnouncementsDomain Hosting by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

If you havn't noticed, those annoying ads which were previously in evidence are all gone! We have purchased a domain name and hosting through the largesse of LooseCannon, and things seem to be pretty much under control.

If anything odd should happen, it may be do to adjustments to our new home.

Thanks for your patience. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 25 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I mean about the animal/human choice issue. Do you think we both have choice, neither, or one and not the other?

Personally, I think you are probably right that we technically don't really choose, except that choosing is simply the act of everyone's differing physiologies(sp?). view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 27 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I think it's pretty obvious that animals don't have choice, at least not in any sense that entails responsibility. We human beings, on the other hand, simply HAVE to have choice, if anything is to make any sense whatsoever... view post


Eating Crow posted 27 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AEating Crow by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Just received my February Locus magazine, and find myself eating crow. Carolyn Cushman, who in her respective capsule reviews more or less panned both TDTCB and A Telling of Stars by my fellow Penguin Caitlin Sweet, has also chosen them for her favourite first novel releases of 2003! I'm going to have to dig out my August Locus and reread her review... <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 27 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

But it seems pretty damn arrogant to say that humans are the only beings with choice, and it doesn't really make sense in the context of evolution. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 27 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Wil, Head Moderator

Except for the fact that the Human brain is more developed then most other animals (except primates, dolphins etc.) So from an evolutionary stand point, it makes perfect sense. The human brain is capable of choice, we are able to overcome our most natural instincts. We are able to think about and change the world we live in. Most other animals cannot to the extent we can. I feel that it is the fact that we have the consequences of our decisions that put us where we are. An ant doesn't feel the consequences of it's decision to build the mound here or there, but we as humans (and the higher animals) do. This to me is what proves that evolution is true, because you can look at the different parts of the Human brain and see all past brains. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 27 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

Ok, I see your point about evolutionary choice, but I don't think that choice was given to us by a higher power, and the argument about choice is that if there is no higher power then we cannot have choice. I think on a fundamental level this may be true, and we therefore have no choice, just a very, very complex cause effect reaction system. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 27 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Wil, Head Moderator

Then how can you argue right and wrong?

If we have no choice, and everything is "a very complex cause-effect reaction system" then how can anything be wrong? Why should I be blamed if I choose to kill someone? It wasn't my choice. I had to do it, my neurons made me! That is the hole in the argument, in my opinion. How can there be moral codes? How can a person be expected to do something, when they have no control? view post


Best character posted 28 February 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeBest character by Malarion, Candidate

Bugger, that was me who posted above.
Guest be damned.
Stupid boy never logged on.
Bah! view post


About the books posted 28 February 2004 in The Warrior ProphetAbout the books by Malarion, Candidate

I read it on a crap holiday. It was one of the highlights, let me tell you. Another book I read was Feist's "Jimmy the Hand".

Aaargh. Dammit, I write better than that! view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 28 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Skyfell, Commoner

Let's drag in another science and get back to the books at once.

Memetics is the study and theory of the spread of ideas and behaviors between people. One of the basic concepts is to view memes (units of transferable information (pronounced like 'genes' which inspired the term)) as entities which are subject to evoltionary pressures. Which means that the ideas you're most likely to find in a random person's head are those that are best able to spread from person to person.

Also, obviously, what ideas are already established in a person's brain affects the spread of other ideas. The idea that Kellhus was more than human was able to spread through the Holy War because the Men of the Tusk believed that gods sometimes walk the world as men.

In sf I've read, memetics is weaponized/made terrible by presenting it as some sort of alien sound or image that completely takes over the mind of anyone that encounters it. I don't think that's probable because everyone has a slightly different mind by nature, before nuture steps in.

More realistic and more worrisome is that if that underlying state and the noosphere (idea-space) of a person can be quantified, then a computer could be programed to do just what the Dunyain do to the world-born: come up with a flawed/directed idea-chain that someone will believe. (Actually, I've read sf that take that approach too, but it was writen before memetics became cool.)

So, since it does seem to be possible, let's consider: How responsible should Cnaiur be held for his part in the murder of his father, Skiotha? Without outside influence, he would never have done it.

People choose (assuming they do) based on what they believe. Right? Insanity and temporary insanity are accepted by most legal systems as reason for not being responsible. Truly believing bizarre things, against evidence, is often classified as insanity. But when your beliefs can be altered..?

Jonathan view post


Eating Crow posted 28 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AEating Crow by Skyfell, Commoner

Isn't 'eating crow' getting the bad side of things? You know, someone insults your team before a game and your coach tells you to "go out and make them eat crow!" or something?

(Let me check my notes... from Merriam-Webster Online - eat crow : to accept what one has fought against.)

Anyway, congratulations again! The book deserves it.

Jonathan view post


Eating Crow posted 28 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AEating Crow by Mithfânion, Didact

Well they do say wisdom comes with time.

Just received my February Locus magazine

Ah, I see I'm not the only one who gets his Locus so late in the month that next month's edition is just a few days from coming out <!-- s:roll: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_rolleyes.gif" alt=":roll:" title="Rolling Eyes" /><!-- s:roll: --> view post


Eating Crow posted 28 February 2004 in Author Q &amp; AEating Crow by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

DON'T get me started. You'd think Canada must be overseas or something.

I reread the August review, and have decided it wasn't so bad afterall. We need a little smiley face with crow feathers sticking out its mouth... view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 28 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I am saying that you can be held responsible for your actions because everyone else has agreed that thre are things you shouldn't do. We already have this around the world, where different countries have different ideas about what is right and wrong and acceptable or not. Most of them happen to be based on religions, but I believe religions are simply ways of assuaging fears as a group, ane are therefore total human constructs to begin with. view post


TDTCB Makes Locus's &quot;Recommended&quot; List posted 28 February 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsTDTCB Makes Locus's &quot;Recommended&quot; List by Mithfânion, Didact

And mentioned here in the 2003 recommended reading list by SFSite's William Thompson, as a book which would probably have made his list.

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.sfsite.com/lists/william2003.htm">http://www.sfsite.com/lists/william2003.htm</a><!-- m -->

Nice list btw, very extensive. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 28 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Actually, you're saying quite a bit more, aren't you Jack? You're saying that all morality (as opposed to just religion) is a social construct. At least that's what I understood.

It's coincidental that you should mention memes, Jonathan, since it was reading about memes back in the mid 80's (in Hofstadter's Metamagical Themas, if I remember aright) that the idea for Kellhus started germinating. It was the first time I ever encountered the notion of ideas behaving as 'mechanisms,' as things which make people DO things, as opposed to little windows on the world.

I really have no clue as to how responsibility could fit into a thoroughgoing memetic account, though. Don't the memes make all the choices? view post


Thorough review of TDTCB (MAJOR SPOILERS) posted 29 February 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeThorough review of TDTCB (MAJOR SPOILERS) by Mithfânion, Didact

Books in Canada


"R.Scott Bakker’s The Darkness that Comes Before: Book One of The Prince of Nothing is a deep meditation on philosophy, religion and the state of our world. At the same time it is a top notch exemplar of the fantasy romance sub-genre.
Bakker’s interest in philosophy becomes apparent from the start. He opens with an epigraph from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and the first character we meet, Anasûrimbor Kellhus, is an embodiment of Nietsche’s ideals. Nietzsche argued, among other things, that independence is for the strong, that “There are heights of the soul seen from which even tragedy ceases to be tragic,” and that the search for truth cannot be done humanely. Bakker’s Kellhus not only shares these views, they are the essential stuff of his character. That such Nietzschean attitudes exert a certain irresistible pull is undeniable, and this accounts for the exquisite darkness Bakker weaves through his story. As Kellhus, raised by the ascetic survivors of the First Apocalypse, the Dûnyain, begins his impossible quest, he proves himself a superman of Nietzschean dimensions, with a steely conscience and a heart made of brass. What, Bakker seems to be asking, would happen to a man who is physically and mentally superior when he, as Nietzsche puts it, assumes the displeasure of trafficking with ordinary men?
Yet Kellhus soon finds himself faced with another claimant to the mantle of the superman, the Scylvendi barbarian Cnaiür urs Skiötha. He, more than Kellhus, represents the Dionysian aspect of the superman Nietzsche dreamed of with great relish-a man for whom all is permitted, as all is permitted in nature. Kellhus gains his superhuman abilities from Dûnyain philosophy that attempts to master the deterministic principle of the ‘Logos’ and strives for a Schopenhauerian denial of desire that Nietzsche would have frowned upon even as he’d be marvelling at the supermen the Dûnyain had become. Cnaiür, on the other hand-as his “prize”, the concubine Serwë comes to realize-looks “down on all outlanders as though from the summit of some godless mountain.” Like Kellhus, he is beyond morality, but unlike Kellhus he indulges his “bestial appetites.” Bakker paints a picture of two supermen with divergent philosophical perspectives, and the reader is left to wonder which of these is the more monstrous-the one who is brutal in his appetites, a Dionysian beyond good and evil like a force of nature--or the one who manipulates those around him as if they were chess pieces while single-mindedly pursuing his own goal, committing and permitting acts of cruelty, heartlessly capitalizing on the hopes and fears of the “herd” around him?
While some might wonder what would motivate Bakker to revisit a philosophy of morality which seems to have been thoroughly discredited in the hands of the Nazis, the fact remains that the debate-between those inclined to see a certain rightness in a Nietzschean outlook, in accordance with which the “superior” individual or group of individuals is permitted, nay obligated, to arrogate superior rights to himself or themselves, and those who see morality as derived from maxims such as those set out by Kant (whom Nietzsche vilified), who argued that wishing others well was a human duty whether or not one liked the others-has not been wholly put to rest, particularly in the arena of international politics, the realpolitik.
Bakker, while pondering these Nietzschean supermen, also constructs a fascinating civilization from which such individuals emerge: His sub-created world of Eärwa lurches into Holy War. Maithanet, the Shriah of the Thousand Temples (the linguistic markers of whose name and title suggest Islam), declares what is essentially a Crusade to regain the lost holy city where the Latter Prophet, Inri Sejenus (whose name suggests the crucified Christ), taught. While the Thousand Temples is an attempt to reconcile all religions by declaring all deities ‘aspects of the God’, it is the Kianene, whose culture is modelled on that of the pantheistic Hindus, who are the strict monotheists of Eärwa and who reject the teaching of the Latter Prophet (and who also happen to possess the holy city where he taught, Shimeh). Bakker strengthens the identification between the Thousand Temples and the Abrahamic religions with his interchangeable use of the terms “holy war” and “jihad” and by describing the capital of the Thousand Temples in a fashion that evokes Jerusalem. By incorporating Goddess worship and a Germanic tree-worshipping element, Bakker also makes clear that the object of his meditation is not any specific religion, but the religious impulse itself.
Bakker has at least one glove off when he offers an epigraph from Ajencis, an ancient Eärwan philosopher, at the start of Chapter Fifteen: “Faith is the truth of passion. Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.” In that chapter the sorcerer-spy from the ridiculed Mandate school of sorcery, Drusas Achamian lectures the pious crusader Proyas on the nature of faith: “There’s faith that knows itself as faith, Proyas, and there’s faith that confuses itself for knowledge. The first embraces uncertainty, acknowledges the mysteriousness of the God. It begets compassion and tolerance. Who can entirely condemn when they’re not entirely certain they’re in the right? But the second, Proyas, the second embraces certainty and only pays lip service to the God’s mystery. It begets intolerance, hatred, violence….”
In such moments particularly, but throughout the work generally, Bakker demonstrates a fine control over the literary conventions of romance and fantasy. He knows that the romance hero is to be the carrier of the values of the reader, and he plays with the time-honoured rule of creating a hero who is unrecognized nobility, the heir to a lost throne, and, of course, young and handsome. His shifting of the action from Kellhus to the low-born, portly and middle-aged Drusas Achaiman defies conventions associated with romance heroes from Sir Gawain to Luke Skywalker. And, in Cnaiür’s unapologetic carnality (and that of other characters, notably Esmenet and Serwë), Bakker’s fantasy further shows its contemporariness. Yet, despite these aspects to his work, he may yet be out of step with current fantasy audiences.
Guy Haley makes the matter-of-fact assertion in the pages of SFX Magazine that fantasy is more and more becoming female-audience-driven and this accounts for the soap-opera flavour of successes in the genre since the 80s. Bakker does achieve the soap opera effect in giving us characters we want to follow, but he undermines his own effort to reach out to a female audience by making his only three female characters all appear whorish. That there is some element of truth in the depictions of Esmenet, Serwë, and Istriya, grand dam of House Ikurei of the Nansur Empire, that women will be able to connect with is something that Bakker is gambling on.
There is another potential problem with the book: there’s no conclusion. Bakker leaves us hanging in the midst of an action scene and offers an unsatisfying epilogue populated entirely by characters who have never appeared before and who ponder the significance of the book’s final, unfinished events. In this way, Bakker fails to demonstrate the whole of the storyteller’s craft-i.e. the ability to bring a story to a resounding, exhilarating and real conclusion. He makes things even harder on himself because, by buying into the multi-volume format, he places himself at the mercy of editors who will push him relentlessly to produce the next book. If, like Sean Russell in his Swans’ War cycle, Bakker does not significantly shape Book Two, he risks everything. Let’s hope he doesn’t succumb to the pressure and release something beneath both the promise and execution of this excellently written work.
But all this forecasting and foreboding cannot take away from the achievements of this book. Throughout, Bakker not only reveals that he is an expert storyteller, but he touches on deep philosophic issues in such a way that any reader will grasp the fundamental principles being tested against each other. He offers us a dark mirror for our strife-torn world, a mirror in which we think we see God when all the while we are only seeing ourselves. "


Patrick R. Burger (Books in Canada) view post


Thorough review of TDTCB (MAJOR SPOILERS) posted 29 February 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeThorough review of TDTCB (MAJOR SPOILERS) by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

Wow, that is some review. I disagree about the end though. I found it left me wanting more and not at all dissatisfied, except for the fact that I couldn't immediately race out and buy the next book. view post


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